Almost £5 million will be ploughed into bridge improvements to allow for the electrification of a railway line, it has emerged, with motorists facing months of delays.
Three bridges in Hednesford and Bloxwich will be rebuilt over 11 months to pave the way for the £30m scheme which will speed up trains on the Chase Line from 45-50mph to 70mph by 2017.
Work to allow a raised bridge at Broad Lane, Bloxwich, will cost £3m and a road closure will be in place from November 11 to March 31 next year.
A temporary footbridge will be provided after a petition. But shutting the main commuter route for vehicles has prompted fears over traffic going into residential estates.
Around £1.1m is being spent on the Station Road bridge, Hednesford, and is scheduled to be carried out between January and April with a road closure. A further £800,000 is due to be spent on a bridge at Walkers Rise, in Hednesford.
A diversion is expected along Stafford Road, Bloxwich, but ex-mayor of Walsall, Alan Davies, from the Dudley Fields estate in Bloxwich, said: “It is going to be a nightmare when Broad Lane is shut.”
A £30m project will see 15 miles of track electrified between Walsall and Rugeley. Network Rail spokesman Ben Herbert said: “Electrification helps us to boost capacity, reduce carbon emissions and cuts the cost of running the railway.
“Electric trains are also quieter, more reliable and have more seats, which is good news for passengers.”
Consultation events will be held at Cannock Chase Civic Centre on Wednesday, Rugeley Leisure Centre on Thursday and Walsall Council House on Friday between 11am and 7pm.